This is less of a “story” in the traditional sense, and more like disconnected snapshots or vignettes. So, no plot or conflict or anything like that, but I tried to be as emotive and descriptive as possible. Possibly a continuing series, although for now, there’s just the two.
It’s early in the morning. The sun is peeking through the blinds, giving just enough dim, washed-out light to see by. I am supposed to be sleeping. Instead, I am standing, clinging to the top rail of my crib, my legs spread stiffly in a wide stance to keep my balance. The crib mattress is cushy and bouncy, and I sway just a little as I stand. Across from me the door stands silent and closed, not yet awake as I should not be. I want to cry out, to shout, to wake up the world to be with me and care for me, to entertain me, but I do not. I am bored; my teddy bear, blankets, pillows and half-filled bottle of juice are all laying in a jumbled pile outside my crib where I threw them, because I was bored. That was fun for a while, but then I ran out of things to throw and my crib is bare except for the crib mattress, plastic sheet and me. I let go of the crib rail and promptly fall backwards onto my bottom. I let out a giggle; the sheet crinkles under me as I plop down on my tush. It is there to protect the crib mattress from messes I might make, just as the crib bars protect the rest of the room from the messes I make.
So, too, does the disposable diaper I wear protect my footie pajamas from the messes I make. My thumb creeps into my mouth as I ponder the damp bulk between my legs. It has swelled to a huge size in the night, and now strains the zipper of my sleeper between my legs. As I rock back and forth on my bottom, I can feel the stickiness squish around me. I want to cry out, to whine and fuss to have my mess cleaned, but I do not. The world is not yet awake, and the time will come when the door awakes and opens and all will be right with the world. My thumb tastes funny, like it still has fuzzies stuck to it from rubbing it on my sleeper. I flop over onto my tummy, watching the door through the crib bars that corral me, to wait for the world to awaken. My heels rest on the puffed-out rear of my diaper, my knees bent almost double, and I kick idly in the air, because I am bored.
The mattress crinkles again beneath me. I should be sleeping. Yesterday, when it was naptime, I was not sleepy and spent my entire naptime in my crib, awake, fuming at the world for enforcing a naptime I did not want. I wanted to play, to make messes, to be out and about and active and naps could wait until I wanted them and it wasn’t fair at all. The crib bars did not seem impressed by the vehemence of my argument to them; they stood impassive and tall, watching my squalling tantrum silently. The door stood closed and asleep, then as now, equally unimpressed. Then when the world returned and the day went on, and finally I got tired, it wasn’t bedtime yet, and I suffered crankily through my dinner and bathtime struggling to keep my eyes open. The world did not seem happy with my ill temper last night, and sleep came quickly, but now this morning I am awake and ready to start the day and the world is not. The door stands closed and silent still. I sniffle, my nose running with snot and forlorn sadness at being abandoned so absolutely in this place for so long. My senses are deadened by the thick sleepy morning around me, for no sound penetrates the closed door, no smell passes through my sniffling, and the sight of the door and the bars and the room have not changed since the world went to sleep last night. Only the cool plastic of the crib mattress beneath me and the fuzzy comfort of my wet thumb remain undiluted. A string of drool slides down my cheek to the mattress, leaving a moist spot.
I push myself over onto my back, thinking to pass the time playing with my toes, but the white rubberized feet of my pajamas are thick enough to thwart anything interesting I could do with my feet. I consider trying to undress myself to get to my feet, but the flap over my pajama zipper is securely snapped and isn’t going anywhere. I drum my heels for a moment on the mattress in a weak imitation of yesterday’s tantrum, but my heart’s not really in it with no audience to impress. Instead, I get back on my tummy and snuggle up close to the crib bars. The door is still closed, mocking me through the cold bars. I can’t reach the top crib rail from here, but I clutch as high as I can reach anyway, tugging myself up onto my knees, leaning heavily against the side of the crib. My diaper sags under my pajamas as I pull myself vertical again, managing to grasp the top crib rail again from my new stance.
As I get back on my feet, clinging to the top rail of my crib, the bulk between my legs pushes my feet apart into a familiar stiff-legged stance. The same dim, washed-out sunlight peeks through the blinds, illuminating the same parts of the room. Time has passed, but it would be impossible to tell by looking. The only sound is the quiet crinkle-creak of the crib mattress shifting under my awkward weight… until finally the door handle rattles, artificial hallway light spills into my room from the opening door… and she walks in.
She is smiling cheerfully, if a bit tiredly, even at this hour of the morning. She is beautiful to me, her shoulder-length wavy hair freshly brushed and neat. I reach out plaintively to her, one hand still clinging to the crib rail. She tells me good morning, as she wrinkles her nose. “Uh-oh, smells like we have a stinky baby this morning, don’t we? Are you a stinky baby? I think you are!” It is said playfully, as though it were the most normal thing in the world. And, for who I am and who she is, in some way it is. Drool runs freely down my chin now, my mouth hanging open slightly. I jump up and down a little, anxious to be out of the crib and snuggling up to her. “Just a minute, baby, we need to get you in a clean diaper as soon as possible, don’t you think? Let me get the things I need, then we’ll get you out and cleaned up.” In her eyes, I do not need a name. ‘Baby’ is a title, a position that describes every facet of my being, just as she has a title of her own. There is no need for names.
She bustles about, gathering a clean disposable diaper, baby wipes, a plastic bag to contain my mess I’ve made, a basket full of lotions, creams, powder and other necessities. She stops at the snack cabinet on the other side of the room, extracting a teething cookie from the top shelf before grabbing the plastic changing pad and placing them all nearby where she will change me. Then, finally, once all the preparations have been made, she finally comes to me and removes me from the crib. I reach out to her hair, but she gently takes my hand and directs it elsewhere. “No, don’t do that. Hair is not for pulling, I’ve told you that before.” She hands me my teething cookie as she lays me down on the mat, and I gnaw busily at it as she unzips my sleeper and exposes the swollen and saggy diaper beneath. As she pulls the tapes open that hold the diaper closed, I can do nothing but watch her over my now drool-covered and slimy cookie, clutched tightly between two fists. She is my world; she has awoken and come to me in my need for her, and for at least a little while, I am the center of hers.